I do not understand why so many people are calling the recent racial remarks of several GOP presidential candidates “dog whistles”. In politics, a dog whistle is a coded/oblique remark that sounds inane to most people but is a signal with a particular meaning to others. Teresa Wiltz cuts to the chase:

Some would call this dogwhistle politicking – the cynical use of code words and phrases to rile up the racist base. That’s what Sarah Palin did back in the 2008 campaign when she famously noted that Barack Obama “is not one of us”. But this goes beyond dogwhistling. These are messages that are coming in loud and clear for all to hear. Gingrich, Santorum and Paul can’t be bothered with prettying things up. It doesn’t matter that they’re spreading lies and misinformation. (For starters, according to the US Census, 59% of food stamp recipients are white, while 28% are black. Poor comes in all colors.)

They just don’t give a flying fig.

[Cross-posted at The Reality-Based Community]

Keith Humphreys

Keith Humphreys is a professor of psychiatry at Stanford University. He served as a senior policy advisor at the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy from 2009 to 2010.